Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Friday, 9 October 2020
How do you balance the human-centric and holistic traditions of natural health with the benefits of modern technology? Head of Academic Quality, Innovation and Teaching, Mark Payne is tackling this challenge as his team builds an improved digital learning environment for Endeavour.
“During the lockdown, Endeavour quickly moved subjects online, live-streaming and recording lecturers and finding ways to make online learning more interactive,” Mark said. “It wasn’t perfect, but we just kept refining as we went along. We’ve been working on improving our digital learning platform for several years and are excited about our new offerings, which enhance the quality and interactivity of our teaching and learning.
A respectful and effective digital platform
“We want to create an improved learning platform that is respectful to natural health teaching traditions and is effective. We know our students get so much from the social interactions that they have with their classmates and their lecturers. We needed reliable digital platforms that offer engagement and interactivity. We believe we can now offer such a platform,” Mark said.
“In practitioner degrees, there will always be the need for face-to-face instruction and supervised clinical practice. We are not moving everything online,” Mark explained. “But we’ve seen how degrees like Complementary Medicine, which is 100 per cent online, can work effectively, and we’re using this experience to build an adaptive learning model. Study should be integral to life. We’re aiming to make it easier for Endeavour students to integrate learning into their lives and become life-long learners.”
Adaptive learning for better student outcomes
“Traditionally, students were taught in a linear fashion, progressing through subjects to assessment. Adaptive learning tailors activities to the student’s learning needs. For example, the platform will ask students questions to assess their understanding. When it picks up a gap in the student’s knowledge, the platform takes the student back to review this content. If the student is still stuck after a few attempts, it offers them an alternative pathway. This could mean booking a consultation with a lecturer, chatting with the lecturer via Messenger or joining a collaborative discussion forum, where their peers can help answer their question,” Mark said.
“Adaptative learning has two great advantages. Students learn according to their individual needs, and they get real-time feedback, which enriches their learning experience. The deepest learning happens when students receive information and synthesise it simultaneously. Endeavour’s improved digital learning platform will help our students to do this.”
“They’ll also develop soft skills that they’ll continue to use after they graduate. Our students will be comfortable using technology for online collaboration and ongoing professional development, which comes in the form of webinars, conferences, papers, podcasts, social media groups and peer mentoring. Our students will already know how to work and learn this way, which gives them the advantage of being industry-ready and career-ready.”
Moving beyond the classroom walls
“The most exciting part,” Mark said, “Is that our classrooms are no longer bound by four walls. Students have greater flexibility in how they learn. Our classrooms are still here, and our academics are still here, but students can choose whether they sit in a tutorial room with friends, watch a live stream from home or catch up online when they can. When we launch in 2021, the biggest difference for our current students will be in the quality of their online learning experience. It’s no longer just PDFs and PowerPoints, but more engaging and interactive content.”
Mark’s team is currently testing Endeavour’s improved digital learning platform with a focus group of academics and students. After this trial, they’ll put the finishing touches on the platform before launching it to all students in 2021.
Endeavour College of Natural Health
Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.
The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.